MURT: Discrimination in organ donation

Montgomery Media | By State Rep. Thomas Murt

As Americans, we have fought against and made great progress in the war against the many forms of discrimination. Inequality against Americans of color, Americans of certain religious convictions, Americans with certain sexual identities, and discrimination against Americans of certain ethnic backgrounds are all forms of prejudice against which we have fought and made headway. We have not been so successful when it comes to discrimination against Americans with disabilities.

Imagine that your young son or daughter needs an organ transplant — perhaps a kidney, liver, bone marrow, or a heart transplant — in order to live. You have been advised that your child is a strong candidate for such an organ transplant as their blood type, health status, brain function, health history, age, and other physiological attributes indicate that they would be an excellent match. Now imagine that the nationally recognized hospital where your loved one is a patient, tells you, "We decided to give the organ to another person because your son has autism or an intellectual disability," or "Your daughter is visually impaired or has Tourette’s syndrome, and we want the donated organ to go to a patient without a disability."

How is that for a slap in the face and a cruel manifestation of discrimination against people with disabilities? Think this can’t happen? Think again and Google "Paul’s Law" or "Paul Corby," who is a young man from Pottsville in Schuylkill County. Paul has some intellectual disabilities, including autism, and was denied a heart transplant due to his autism, despite being an excellent match in every other way. Continue reading